On Stoicism


“We can remove most sins if we have a witness standing by as we are about to go wrong. The soul should have someone it can respect, by whose example it can make its inner sanctum more inviolable. Happy is the person who can improve others, not only when present, but even when in their thoughts!”


Cato the Younger was a Roman politician and philosopher who is best known for his self-discipline and heroic defense of the Republic against Julius Caesar. His example is often cited in Stoic literature, despite the fact that he never wrote anything down or gave any interviews. Seneca suggested that each person should have their own Cato in their mind to guide their actions. Adam Smith had a similar concept called the indifferent spectator, which is a person who can stand witness to our behavior and admonish us when necessary. Ultimately, this concept can be used so that we can serve as someone else’s Cato or indifferent spectator when they need it.

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